Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scope Creep - Lessons for IT from the Advertising World

I love this video. Amongst other things, it shows how easily scope creep - endless project revisions - can destroy the original objectives of a project.

Although taken from the marketing/advertising world, the lesson remains highly valid to the IT industry.

Scope creep in enterprise IT projects is typically caused by poor definition of objectives, weak project management and a lack of communication between IT teams and business executives who set the goals.

And the answer?

1. Use a platform that pre-programs common or repetitive development tasks. This increases productivity and reduces the impact of scope creep.

2. Use a tool that focuses on configuration rather than coding.For this you need a metadata-based application platform that has already pre-compiled the hard code into ready-to-use business logic.

3. Get a platform that enables faster prototyping and shorter development cycles. Very fast prototyping (facilitated again by metadata) enables better understanding and proofing of requests and concepts. It's also easier for developers and users to share and exchange information using functional prototypes rather than looking at program code.

4. Use a software development tool that cuts down on skill-set requirements. Having to manage multiple development teams (a typical occurrence if you're building a RIA or SaaS application) is risky to project success and drives up costs. In many cases this alone can force cuts and changes to a project's original scope. Ideally, use a platform with a single, end-to-end programming language.